The EU has issued a new regulation to reduce deforestation and forest degradation due to production of consumer products and the consumption of feed- and foodstuffs.
On June 9, 2023, the European Union (EU) published Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 on deforestation-free products (the Regulation). The main driver for these processes is the expansion in agricultural land linked to the production of commodities like soy, beef, palm oil, wood, cocoa, coffee, rubber and their derived products, such as leather, chocolate, tires and furniture. As a major economy and consumer of commodities linked to deforestation and forest degradation, the EU is partly responsible for this issue and wants to lead the way in finding a resolution.
Under the Regulation, any operator or trader who places these commodities on the EU market, or exports from it, must be able to prove that the products do not originate from recently deforested land and have not contributed to forest degradation.
The Regulation on deforestation-free products repeals the EU Timber Regulation (EU) 995/2010. As of June 9, 2023, operators and traders will have 18 months to implement the new rules. Micro and small enterprises have a longer adaptation period, as well as other specific provisions.
The new rules aim to:
- Stop Europeans buying, using and consuming listed products that contribute to deforestation and forest degradation in the EU and globally
- Reduce carbon emissions caused by EU consumption and production of the specified commodities by at least 32 million metric tonnes a year
- Address all deforestation driven by agricultural expansion related to the production of commodities in the scope of the regulation, as well as forest degradation
Annex I to the Regulation contains a wide range of commodities and products that are classified in the combined nomenclature under Annex I to Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87. These include but not be limited to the examples below:
- Rubber: Category ex 4011 “New pneumatic tires, of rubber”
- Rubber: Category ex 4012 “Retreaded or used pneumatic tires of rubber; solid or cushion tires, tire treads and tire flaps, of rubber”
- Rubber: Category ex 4015 “Articles of apparel and clothing accessories (including gloves, mittens and mitts), for all purposes, of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber”
- Rubber: Category ex 4016 “Other articles of vulcanized rubber other than hard rubber, not elsewhere specified in chapter 40”
- Wood: Category 4402 “Wood charcoal (including shell or nut charcoal), whether or not agglomerated”
- Wood: Category 4411 “Fibreboard of wood or other ligneous materials, whether or not bonded with resins or other organic substances”
- Wood: Category 4412 “Plywood, veneered panels and similar laminated wood”
- Wood: Category 4414 “Wooden frames for paintings, photographs, mirrors or similar objects”
- Wood: Category 4419 “Tableware and kitchenware, of wood”
- Wood: Category ex 49 “Printed books, newspapers, pictures and other products of the printing industry, manuscripts, typescripts and plans, of paper”
- Wood: Categories 9403 30, 9403 40, 9403 50, 9403 60 and 9403 91 “Wooden furniture, and parts thereof”
Market operators are obliged to provide a “Due Diligence Statement” in accordance with Article 4(2), as detailed in Annex II:
- Operator’s name, address and, in the event of relevant commodities and relevant products entering or leaving the market, the Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number in accordance with Article 9 of Regulation (EU) No 952/2013
- Harmonized system code, free-text description, including the trade name, as well as, where applicable, the full scientific name and quantity of the relevant product that the operator intends to place on the market or export. For relevant products entering or leaving the market, the quantity is to be expressed in kilograms of net mass and, where applicable, in the supplementary unit set out in Annex I to Regulation (EEC) No 2658/87 against the indicated harmonized system code or, in all other cases, expressed in net mass specifying a percentage estimate or deviation or, where applicable, volume or number of items. A supplementary unit is applicable where it is defined consistently for all possible subheadings under the harmonized system code referred to in the due diligence statement
- Country of production and the geolocation of all plots of land where the relevant commodities were produced. For relevant products that contain or have been made using cattle, and for such relevant products that have been fed with relevant products, the geolocation shall refer to all the establishments where the cattle were kept. Where the relevant product contains or has been made using commodities produced in different plots of land, the geolocation of all plots of land shall be included in accordance with Article 9(1), point (d)
- For operators referring to an existing due diligence statement pursuant to Article 4(8) and (9), the reference number of such due diligence statement
- The text: ‘By submitting this due diligence statement the operator confirms that due diligence in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2023/1115 was carried out and that no or only a negligible risk was found that the relevant products do not comply with Article 3, point (a) or (b), of that Regulation.’
The European Commission published a FAQ Document to further explain the Regulation’s requirements.
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